It’s back, and it feels busier than ever. Last year we had the Mobile “We’re not in lockdown” Congress, which was buzzy, but lacking the participation of most Chinese and Asian companies, and hampered by everyone having to wear masks the whole time. This year, the masks are gone; it really is a Mobile World Congress and everyone is back promoting all that’s new in mobile.
Almost everyone in the world knows what a SIM is. It’s the little piece of plastic with gold bits on it that makes your mobile phone work.
Almost nobody in the world knows how a SIM works.
That’s about to change, as over the next few years we’re going to see SIMs disappear. Or at least the bits of plastic with gold bits on will disappear, as the things that a SIM does get integrated inside your phone. It brings the prospect of changing the way phone contracts work, allowing your phone to do far more, and has the potential to disrupt the current business models of network operators.
While the Tory party seems to be fixated on finding a Prime Minister with a longer-dated “Best Before” label than Liz Truss, both they and the Labour party appear to have missed a more important point, which is that there’s never been a better time to effect electoral reform for the UK, but neither Party seems to have noticed, being too obsessed with the cult of premiership.
Recent events have shown that the current two party system is even more broken than Liz Truss’ economic vision, and whoever wins the current Prime Ministerial beauty parade is in for a stormy ride, but nobody seems to ask why it’s all going wrong, and what can be done about it.
There’s nothing like an energy crisis to bring out the urban myths about what’s stealing all of our electricity. The most prevalent of these is the concept of vampire or phantom power, where devices which are left plugged in or on standby are demonised, with the claim that they consume kiloWattHours of energy, pushing up our bills. Given that electricity prices in the UK look set to triple this year, that’s a big worry. However, many of the figures I see being used to support this are decades old, which means that some of the advice being given is misleading or downright wrong. So I thought it would be a good time to look at exactly how much power our devices actually take, so that people can make informed decisions.
In 2020, the Mobile World Congress was one of the first victims of Covid, denying over 100,000 attendees their annual spring outing to Barcelona. Two years, later, it’s one of the first major exhibitions to stage a credible come-back. It’s not as big – the GSMA, who organise it are predicting around half the attendance figures. Despite that, hosting 50,000+ people for a four day conference and exhibition is still a major step back to normality.
It’s great, if a little strange, to be back. Enforced mask wearing makes serendipitous networking difficult, but the surprise is how busy it is. At the start of the first day, entry queues stretched around the front of the exhibition halls, and by mid-morning it felt busier that you’d normally expect on the opening day. It is smaller; there are empty gaps in the halls, and it’s absorbed the 4YFN startup event, which is a definite move for the better. But it was busy, with a bustling vibe, giving everyone the feeling that the constraints of Covid are behind us.
Just before Christmas, the Bluetooth SIG published the final documents in the first release of Bluetooth LE Audio. It’s been the largest single development in the history of the Bluetooth specifications, taking around eight years and comprising 25 new or updated documents, with over 1,250 pages of specification. Its aim is ambitious, the intent being to provide the platform for the next twenty years of wireless audio development.